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Wall Street gains on vaccine hopes, improving economic data

A COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and German biotech firm BioNTech showed promise and was found to be well tolerated in early-stage human trials.

July 01, 2020 / 08:51 PM IST

Wall Street opened higher on Wednesday as rising hopes of a COVID-19 vaccine reversed premarket losses, overshadowing fears of another round of lockdowns following a record surge in coronavirus cases in the United States.

A COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and German biotech firm BioNTech showed promise and was found to be well tolerated in early-stage human trials.

Pfizer's shares jumped 4.1 percent on the news, while BioNTech gained 3 percent, helping improve the mood on Wall Street after the United States registered 47,000 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the biggest one-day spike since the start of the pandemic.

Updates on the progress in various COVID-19 vaccine programs are being closely watched by investors, and have been partly responsible for Wall Street's recent rally. The S&P 500 closed its best quarter since 1998 on Tuesday.

Investors have also focused on signs of an economic recovery with the easing of coronavirus-induced lockdowns. Data on Wednesday showed that a slump in global manufacturing was easing in June, with U.S. figures hitting their highest level in more than a year.

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The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national factory activity jumped to a reading of 52.6 last month from 43.1 in May, ending three straight months of contraction.

On Thursday, all eyes will be on the Labor Department's nonfarm payrolls report.

At 10:17 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 113.35 points, or 0.44 percent, at 25,926.23, the S&P 500 was up 16.78 points, or 0.54 percent, at 3,117.07. The Nasdaq Composite was up 40.39 points, or 0.40 percent, at 10,099.15.

Battered cruise line operators Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Inc, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and Carnival Corp rose between 3.6 percent and 6 percent.

Macy's Inc edged up 1.7 percent after it reported a staggering $3.58 billion quarterly loss, led by a $3 billion impairment charge due to COVID-19 induced-store shutdowns.

FedEx Corp jumped 16.0 percent after posting better-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue, helped by a surge in pandemic-fueled home deliveries.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.76-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.39-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 7 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 48 new highs and 6 new lows.
Reuters

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